“Happiness is an inside job.” Chances are you’ve heard this popular saying before. And it really is true. There’s no external factor, person or thing that will make you happy on a long-term basis, unless happiness already resides deep within yourself. In other words, you are responsible for your own happiness. And that’s largely dependent on your mental outlook, which will, in turn, determine how you feel about yourself, others and just about everything around you.
What are Self-Affirmations?
Self-affirmations (or, simply, affirmations) might on the surface seem simply like the most meaningless clichés, the sole purpose of which is to populate memes which do the rounds on social media. However, according to the experts, they’re not. They’re actually powerful communication tools which will not only help to improve the quality of our thoughts, which can have a big impact on the actions we take. In fact, according to Dr. Arlene Taylor (a.k.a the brain guru) affirmations are “the most effective way to communicate with your subconscious mind [and] program your brain for success”.
The power of our thoughts
Another adage “be careful how you talk to yourself because you are always listening” underscores the fact that whether we recognise it or not, we all constantly talk to ourselves in our head. Without realising it, our thoughts or what we say to ourselves can take on a negative tone, whether it be self-derision or being overly critical of ourselves and others. Such thoughts impact on our emotions and easily rob us of joy. What’s more, science has proven that the very structure and function of our brains are affected by our thought patterns.
It is said that negative thinking patterns can magnify your problems in life, as the brain visualises negative outcomes. Bearing in mind the kind of world we’re living in, where there’s no shortage of unkind, mean and downright hurtful things, it’s important that we make conscious and deliberate effort to counteract these negative influences by focusing on positive, uplifting thoughts. Consistency is key – it is recommended that we repeat these affirmations when we wake up in the morning. In this way, we’ll be starting our day on a positive note.
My own experience
Personally, over the past several years, I have found that by tuning into and evaluating what I’m thinking at any moment throughout my day really helps to improve my mood, keeps me motivated and to maintain a positive disposition. I do have a perfectionist streak, and many times, I have to reign in the temptation to be overly harsh on myself. If I find my thoughts drifting into negative territory, I first of all command my mind to stop. I then repeat to myself some of the strengths I have and also the good specifically related to the task at hand, using a series of self-affirmations. So, for instance, I will say something like: “I can and I will”, “I have worked diligently on this, and I will succeed” and “I am completely capable of completing this well”. It also works well to physically note down affirmations and refer to them as needed; this serves to further reinforce these positive thoughts.
What are the rules?
The beauty of it is that there are no hard and fast rules as to what affirmations consist of, which means you can personalise them to suit your individuality, which will maximise their impact on you. In forming your affirmations, remember the following guidelines:
- Short – concise affirmations will be more easily remembered
- Positive – remove any hint of negativity: “can’t” & “won’t” are banned.
- Use the present tense – you are focused on the now, not the future or past. Even if it isn’t something you have yet accomplished, speak as though you already have.
- Feelings & actions – use words that convey emotions and describe what actions you are taking.
Here are a few examples of self- affirmations you can use daily to get you started:
- I am feeling grateful to be alive and am looking forward to the day ahead.
- I am confident about the future, as I work hard to achieve my goals.
- I am happy to be surrounded by people who love me and care about mywellbeing.
- I am capable of changing anything in my life that is not bringing me joy.
- I am intelligent, confident and self-reliant.
- I embrace change and make the best of all situations.
- I choose to be peaceful, forgiving and loving.
- I am proud of my achievements.
All in all, your positive thoughts will feed into your attitude and how you approach each day. Never allow yourself to feel incapable, unworthy or undeserving. Banish all self-doubt and strive to live each day with a “can do” attitude. Above all, think positive thoughts. Who to tell, you could be speaking all kinds of good things into being.
I’d love to hear from you what affirmations you use and how you’ve benefited from them- drop me a line below!